July 18, 2019

2011 Hive Census- York County Beekeepers Association

by Richard McLaughlin, YCBA President

At our last club meeting in March, a writer  from a local newspaper approached me  with a few questions about our organization  for an upcoming article. One of which  was regarding how many hives are managed  by our members in York County. Since  the YCBA (York County Beekeepers Association ) didn’t have that number in its  membership database, I thought it would  be a good idea to poll the group and get an  actual count from our beekeepers. The question  went out to the YCBA Google Group,  creating the 2011 YCBA Hive Census.

As many of our beekeepers began responding,  some also included reasons for their winter  losses. The winter kills were reported as  being due to starvation, small clusters,  varroa-related issues, and failed nuc overwintering  attempts. Some beekeepers won’t  know for sure until they get into and inspect  their hives this spring. Forty-eight percent  of our 100+ membership has written in and  reported a total of 216 hives going into winter,  with 52 hives lost, resulting in 167 hives  coming out of the winter. We are happy to  report that a handful of the hives coming  out of the winter are successfully overwintered  nucleus colonies!

2011 Hive Census- York County Beekeepers Association

2011 Hive Census- York County Beekeepers Association

Our members keep an average of 3.7 hives,  with a maximum of 24 and a minimum of 1,  though the YCBA indeed has some new  members without hives yet, who are planning  their first ones for this year or next.  Many members have plans to replace or  augment their apiaries with packages, nucs,  or splits. Add to that a healthy crop of new  beekeepers planning to start their very first  hives, and we can anticipate 79 new hives  to be set-up in York County this spring.  This is a 12.3% increase over the number of  hives last fall. You might be wondering how  these new hives will be set-up. Of the 79  new hives, 49% will be packages, 27% will  be nucs, and the remaining 24% are hopeful  splits. With spring in the air and hopes high  for the new season, the number of hives  managed in York County by the YCBA  membership could become 246.

Mother Nature was tough on our bees last  fall, and although winter kills hover around  24%, all of our beekeepers remain excited  for spring and optimistic about another  season of beekeeping. A special thank you  goes out to all our YCBA members who  responded to the census, especially those  who travelled long distances to check on  their York County hives, and especially  Joanne who braved the snow on her crutches!

Any member who wasn’t able to report prior to the deadline for this article, and would like to contribute, please email me directly at richardmcl@earthlink.net. I will continue collecting data throughout the spring and all year long. Thank you!




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